Heroic cinemagoer who saved man's life during Sheffield screening says it 'felt like fate'
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Samantha Slater, 38, of Huddersfield, said it was her first time attending to a real person in her 20-year career as a support worker, and that she was relieved that she had helped save someone's life.
Malcolm Clarke, 81, from Bournemouth was visiting Sheffield with his family when he went into cardiac arrest at the Odeon cinema at Arundel Gate on Saturday, October 2, during a screening of the new James Bond film, No Time To Die.
Malcolm, who grew up in Chesterfield, and his wife Jacky came to Sheffield for a weekend break as a delayed 80th birthday present, to revisit his childhood memories of South Yorkshire.
Aside from Samantha, three other healthcare workers who happened to be at the cinema came to Malcolm's rescue and helped keep him alive as the screen was evacuated.
Samantha said it felt as though it was ‘fate’ as she was not meant to visit her partner, who lives in Sheffield, over the weekend.
She said: "I wasn't actually planning on going and we were just at the cinema by chance as we were going to a different cinema, but they changed it to this one at the last minute, so it almost felt like fate.
"The movie was just about to start. Malcolm was sitting in the same row as us when one of the family members rushed through the aisle and we thought that was a bit strange. Next thing I knew somebody shouted for help."
She said years of CPR training came in handy as she went into ‘auto pilot’ to save Malcolm although she herself suffers from ongoing mental health issues including anxiety and struggles with confidence.
"It was really quite unexpected and I thought it was surreal to be involved in it. I've been struggling to sleep thinking about it... I am so pleased I overcame these in the moment for the sake of helping save a life,” she said.
"Another woman, I think she was a paediatric nurse, helped with the breathing and I was counting the compressions. It was just a bit of a whirlwind really.
"It's just incredible everybody responded so quickly, and fortunately Malcolm is OK so I am so happy."
Malcolm's son in law, Andrew Wileman, also provided a wonderful update. He said Malcolm was already sitting up and ‘talking and meeting with the doctors’ on Monday morning.
He said: "He is having a procedure done for his heart and he is stable and talking. He's been able to receive visits from the family so he's been quite well, thank you."
Andrew also conveyed his gratitude to all four of the lifesavers with whom he has been in contact since the incident.
The other individuals were contacted by The Star but declined to be interviewed due to their professions as healthcare personnel.
They, however, said they were relieved to learn that Malcolm was on his path to recovery.
It is understood that the Odeon cinema offered the affected audience the chance to attend a later showtime that night or receive a refund on their tickets.